Tag Archive | "Bridgehampton CAC"

Bridgehampton CAC Hear Airport Noise Problem

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By Mara Certic                                    

Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee discussed the status of some of their pet projects, but also spent some time talking about what has become a regional concern on Long Island,  the East Hampton Airport, at their first meeting of the summer season on Tuesday.

Many gathered in the basement of the Bridgehampton National Bank on Tuesday, for updates on local issues, and a presentation on the history of the planned development district (PDD) by former Southampton Town land-use administrator Jefferson Murphree.

The PDD talk, which followed the timeline of the law so far, starting in 1998, when Mr. Murphree, who was a town planner, Wayne Bruyn, who served as an assistant town attorney, and land-use administrator Bob Duffy wrote the legislation for Southampton Town, took up most of the meeting.

Before Mr. Murphree’s arrival, Bob Malafronte, a member of the Sag Harbor CAC and a former member of the East Hampton Noise Abatement subcommittee, came to update his neighbors to the South and ask for their support.

On Friday, May 22, Mr. Malafronte, who lives on the eastern side of Long Pond, said that he counted 29 helicopters that flew directly over his house in a span of just two hours, “and the route’s not supposed to be anywhere near me,” he said. Over the weekend, Mr. Malafronte said that he had noticed new traffic flying over Bridgehampton, “You guys are now getting a ton,” he told the group.

The assembled Bridgehampton residents were of two minds about whether or not the holiday weekend had created more noise than during previous summers. While some said that the issue wasn’t particularly bad this weekend, other disagreed.

Nancy Walter-Yvertes, co-chair of the committee, said that while her house on Ocean Road had not previously had a lot of loud aircraft overhead, on Monday afternoon when she was playing tennis in her backyard, “it was very, very noisy.”

Jemille Charlton, the airport manager, explained over the phone on Wednesday morning that route changes that the town began to put in place last year reduced the amount of air traffic flying over Wainscott, but did increase traffic over Sagaponack and Bridgehampton. But he stressed that residents should not be seeing any more traffic this year than they did a year ago.

On Tuesday morning, Jeff Smith of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council distributed the organization’s report of chopper compliance over the holiday weekend, which said that only four operations out of the 1,059 that took place Thursday through Tuesday morning did not comply with the prescribed routes.

Mr. Charlton, who uses a different program to track flights, said that Mr. Smith’s numbers were pretty much spot on. “The tower, the FBOs and the pilots worked very well together,” Mr. Charlton said about the holiday weekend. “Things flowed pretty well, it was pretty much an uneventful weekend, which is what I like around here.”

On the subject of noncompliance, Mr. Charlton said that the higher an aircraft is in the sky, the more difficult it can be to tell exactly where its ground location is, exactly what it is above. This means that the higher an aircraft is, the more likely it is to look like it is directly overhead. “That’s something you don’t really think about until you’re involved in this,” he said.

In other action, CAC member Leonard Davenport gave an update on “Wick’s Corner,” the CAC’s new name for the lot at the busy intersection at the east of the hamlet, where a CVS pharmacy is slated to go.  The group decided to move forward in its efforts to find out more about the possibility of the town purchasing the parking rights from the owner of the lot. “My supposition would be that it would save [the owner] money,” he said over the phone on Wednesday morning, “and reduce his assessment.” The purchase would also help the hamlet contend with an existing parking problem CAC members fear a new CVS would exacerbate.

The eventual goal is that a combination of money from parking and park districts, the Community Preservation Fund, and private donations could purchase the lot from the owner, and turn it into a green space.

The CAC will be asking the town to look into the cost to the taxpayer, and will also ask that the property be placed onto the town’s CPF list.

“We need to be proactive in getting a willing seller and convincing the town to take part,” Mr. Davenport said.

 

 

 

Bridgehampton CAC Discuss Deer and Development

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By Mara Certic

After last month’s meeting was postponed and then ultimately cancelled, the February meeting of Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday night covered a variety of topics, from Southampton Town’s deer policy to cellphone towers and names for the proposed Bridgehampton Gateway Project.

“This is a catch-all kind of meeting, different people will be presenting different things,” said CAC co-chair Nancy Walter-Yvertes on Monday, February 23.

Members of the group were updated about a proposed 120-foot cell phone monopole on Foster Avenue, which was approved by the town Planning Board much to the chagrin of many of those assembled.

The monopole is going to improve cellphone reception but Ms. Walter-Yvertes fears it will be “totally visible from most of our backyards” and “industrial looking.”

“That’s just one loss,” she said.

After a brief discussion with the executive editor of the Press Newsgroup, Joe Show, about how CACs and the press could better coordinate, the talk turned to deer.

Marty Shea, chief environmental analyst for the town, and Kyle Collins, town planning and development administrator, gave Bridgehampton residents a presentation on the town’s Deer Protection and Management Plan, which was unveiled in November 2014.

“There is no silver bullet,” Mr. Collins said, as he introduced the plan, which has been described as a holistic approach to the problem and includes both lethal and alternative methods of stabilizing the deer population.

“Deer in many respects represent the elegance and wild places in this town,” Mr. Shea said. “At the same time, they do present a host of issues,” he said.

One of the first steps in the plan is the creation of a Town Deer Protection and Management Advisory Committee, which should be done by late Spring, Mr. Collins said.

Local farmers Jim and Jennifer Pike scoffed when Mr. Shea said that there wasn’t actually a deer population crisis in the town.

“I imagine there are other people in the town but we are the ones bearing the brunt of the overpopulation issue, drastically,” Ms. Pike said on Monday.

Although the Pikes have nuisance permits and as farmers they are allowed to hunt  deer out of season on their property, they said they still struggle with the large numbers of deer.

“We’re not hunters, it’s not easy, it’s not fun and we don’t enjoy it,” she said. “We’re not gung-ho, we just want to sell some vegetables.”

Members of the CAC were also updated on discussions that have gone on among committee members for the proposed Bridgehampton Gateway Project. Residents and planners are looking for a way to make the development community oriented while still economically successful.

Among the potential names for the development were Bridgehaven, The Fields, The Grange and Beech Meadow.

Bridgehampton To Revisit Gateway Project

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Five-year-old plans for the Bridgehampton Gateway Study will be revived and fine-tuned by the developer in time for him to present them to the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee at their next meeting on Monday, November 24. 

By Mara Certic

For five years plans for a new development across the street from the Bridgehampton Commons shopping center have been collecting dust, but Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst is hoping to polish up the Bridgehampton Gateway project.

Ms. Throne-Holst attended the Monday night meeting of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee for the second month in a row to float the idea of reviving conversations about a rezoning of the Konner property on Montauk Highway into a Planned Development District (PDD).

The 13-acre site is currently zoned for a mix of highway business and residential uses. The highway business zoning restricts the type of businesses allowed in the development to shops one might see alongside County Road 39, Southampton Town Planner Kyle Collins explained on Monday night.

PDDs, he and Ms. Throne-Holst said, allow the town to rezone lots it believes could better serve their communities and also allow town boards and the community to have a say in the development process.

Several years ago, the town suggested making this property a PDD, dubbing it the Bridgehampton Gateway project. After substantial public comment and input, the plans “fell apart because of some land management issues,” Ms. Throne-Holst said.

All 13 acres are now under common ownership, litigation related to the land is done and Ms. Throne-Holst is ready to reopen the conversation about the PDD, citing a concern that the current zoning is not adequate.

“Perhaps there’s a zoning component to this that doesn’t serve the community as best it could,” she said on Monday.

Another advantage of the town creating a PDD is that it requires the developer to include something in the plans to benefit the community. Mr. Collins and Ms. Throne-Holst said the specifics of just what that public benefit could be could be suggested by the community and could be one of many, many things. Open space, affordable housing and a walk-in clinic were all discussed as possibilities during Monday night’s meeting.

“Some of the public benefit is the design,” explained Mr. Collins, who showed old plans for the project, which included using farm-like buildings in order to build on the agricultural history of Bridgehampton.

During talks of public benefits, one woman stopped the conversation to bring up CVS, what she referred to as “the big elephant in the room.” Greg Konner, one of the developers, explained the property being discussed was currently not zoned for pharmacy uses, but that if it were to become a PDD, it could theoretically house, say a 9,050 square-foot chain drug store.

Mr. Konner joked that having a CVS in the proposed Bridgehampton Gateway project, as opposed to on the busy corner it’s planned for, could be the public benefit Bridgehamptonites are looking for.

Peter Wilson, a member of the CAC, was keen to remind Mr. Konner not to suggest that a big-box store such as a King Kullen or a CVS should be considered a public benefit. Mr. Wilson also expressed some concern that the developer would still make the final decisions and the CAC would be left in a situation of having to react after the fact, like with CVS.

The planners and supervisor assured Mr. Wilson that making the parcel a PDD would be one of the few ways to ensure the community does have some say in what ends up there.

“I say, for the love of God, let’s try it and not shoot it down by 9 o’clock at night,” CAC-member Fred Camman said at about 8:45 p.m. on Monday.

After ample discussion on the topic, the members of the CAC decided to throw their support behind the PDD project and passed a resolution to that effect.

Mr. Konner told the CAC he and his family, who own the property, were looking forward to “moving hand in hand with you guys to come up with a comprehensive plan we’re all happy with.” He said they will work on new plans and present them to the CAC at their next meeting on Monday, November 24.

Earlier in the meeting, former Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister, who is now heading up an organization Defend H20, gave a presentation on the need to further protect and restore East End groundwater.

Environmental Impact Study Ordered for Potential CVS in Bridgehampton

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The Southampton Town Planning Board ruled last Thurday it will require an environmental impact study for CVS at the corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton Turnpike. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Mara Certic

At the end of a three-hour meeting on Thursday afternoon, the Southampton Town Planning Board ruled that it would require an environmental impact study for CVS pharmacy that has been proposed for a busy intersection in Bridgehampton.

Southampton Town Planner Claire Vail presented her recommendation to the board on Thursday after she discussed the standards of the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The application is considered “unlisted,” which means the planning board has the final say in whether or not an EIS is required.

CVS Caremark filed for a special exception permit in July to allow the pharmacy giant to occupy a 9,030-square-foot-building at the intersection of Montauk Highway, the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike and Lumber Lane.

Ms. Vail said on Thursday the proposed pharmacy could have significant potential adverse effects on both traffic and the community character, which lead the board to adopt what is called a “positive declaration,” requiring the environmental study.

In 2011, the planning board approved plans by BNB Ventures IV—the company that owns the land—to demolish the Bridgehampton Beverage store in order to put in its place a two-story Greek revival building. When approved in 2011, the planning board had determined the building would not have any adverse impact on its surroundings.

It was initially proposed the building would have a couple of retail spaces with offices or apartments upstairs, but the entire building was zoned for retail uses, which allows CVS to seek to merge the different retail spaces together to make one large store. But the town code requires developers seeking to build retail spaces larger than 5,000 square feet in the village business district to apply for a special exception permit, although the use is not prohibited outright.

News of CVS potentially taking over the busy corner caused outcry from members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, who in turn created the offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street in an effort to raise money to fund a potential legal battle.

A few dozen people showed up to Thursday afternoon’s planning board meeting, many of them sporting anti-CVS pins in their lapels, to listen to Ms. Vail discuss the board’s determination. Although members of the CAC had tried to make arguments that there might be impacts on the historic district or nature of the lot, which is the site of a historic tavern, Ms. Vail determined it unlikely the CVS would affect the historical character of the area.

“That triangle has some historic importance, but you already approved a building there,” said John Bennett, who is representing CVS Caremark.

Ms. Vail did, however, say that an almost 10,000-square-foot pharmacy on the busy corner would have a significant negative effect on the community character of Bridgehampton’s Main Street. Ms. Vail used copies of the Bridgehampton Hamlet Study and plans for the hamlet center as criteria, all of which named maintaining the community character as the village’s primary goal.

Ms. Vail also found there to be a significant potential negative impact on traffic in the area, thus requiring a traffic study.

Questions remain about how many parking spots there should be, as well as the scope of any traffic study. Mr. Bennett appeared to be frustrated following Ms. Vail’s presentation to the planning board.

He told the board the developers had already hired BHB Engineering to do a traffic study. “The first thing I insisted upon was a traffic impact statement,” he said. “You cannot under any guise use the traffic concerns here because that ship has sailed.”

Members of Save Bridgehampton Main Street also hired an engineer for their own traffic study, which will be read into the record at one of the upcoming public hearings on the application. Following the adoption of the positive declaration, a third traffic study will likely be conducted on the busy corner.

Mr. Bennett told the board this move was “textbook arbitrary action,” and warned the planning board to use only substantiated facts and expert testimony when making its decisions.  Mr. Bennett several times made reference to appealing the board’s decision. At one point, he said, “I guess a court will have to decide that.”

Wayne Bruyn, who is representing BNB Ventures IV, accused the board of standing alone with its staff on “a twisted interpretation of the code.”

The two attorneys spent approximately 45 minutes responding to Ms. Vail’s presentation and accused the board of acting illegally.

“I know you’re under a lot of political pressure, I ask you to consider what you said, I don’t see how you have the authority to do anything you’re doing today,” Mr. Bennett said.

When the board asked the lawyers for an adjournment in order to consider its reply, Mr. Bennett flatly refused and said “You’re going to do what you’re going to do.”

“You’ve had more than enough time” to prepare, Mr. Bennett added.  “You should have anticipated what I was going to say, you should have known it all along.”

The six members of the board present voted unanimously to accept the positive declaration. Public hearings and further environmental review will take place in the coming weeks.

 

Fight to Stop CVS Rages on in Bridgehampton

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By Mara Certic

Although contractors began clearing the proposed site for a CVS Pharmacy in Bridgehampton last week, Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee members donning anti-CVS pins on Monday seemed encouraged by the possibility an alternate site could be found for the store.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst asked to attend the CAC’s monthly meeting on Monday, September 22, in order to discuss some ideas around with residents of the hamlet, she said.

“There are a couple of facts I wanted to make sure to clarify,” Ms. Throne-Holst began on Monday. “We have gotten all of your emails, petitioning us to hold a public hearing,” she said. “We’ve done our best to explain, there is no legal vehicle for us to do that.”

Members of the CAC and the offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street have been writing to local officials asking them to hold public hearings about a proposed CVS on Bridgehampton’s busiest intersection.

Ms. Throne-Holst explained there is a “separation between church and state” when it comes to the town and its various appointed boards. “That doesn’t mean we don’t take this very seriously,” she added.

The decision to allow or deny CVS to open a store on a busy intersection in Bridgehampton, she repeated, lies solely in the hands of the planning board. “They have to be able to show by the letter of the law why they made the decision,” she said on Monday.

Former town planning director Jeff Murphree reiterated this and reminded the CAC members “the planning board has to focus its decision on facts.” Ms. Throne-Holst explained the appointed boards operate within certain classifications and parameters set by the state.

But what the town can do, she added, is tighten, add and subtract the parameters within that code. The town board held a hearing on Tuesday, September 23, about adding specific special exception permit standards for uses in excess of 5,000 square feet and less than 15,000 square feet.

Quite conveniently, at 9,030 square feet, the proposed CVS would be subject to the additional standards. “This is one that has been in the works for some time,” she said of the legislation.

Lawyers representing BNB Ventures IV and CVS Caremark spoke at the Tuesday’s public hearing opposing the legislation as written. John Bennett, who represents CVS, said this was “an illegal exercise of your powers as town board.”

He mentioned a court ruling from another, similar case, and said, “this administrative procrastination calculated to deny a property owner his right to use his land is supportable neither by law or by ethical practice.”

“I’ll ask you to have more character, more backbone and obey the law,” he told the board on Tuesday.

Wayne Bruyn, who represents BNB Ventures IV said, ““When I looked at this law I was in shock.”

Ms. Throne-Holst reiterated the amendment is a “part of that string of looking and relooking and improving on some of our land use codes.” The supervisor said the town was going to make amendments to the law and would keep the hearing open until the October 14 meeting.

On Monday Ms. Throne-Holst also discussed another planning opportunity she wanted to float by the most concerned Bridgehamptonites. The Konner Development, a 13-acre piece of land across the street from the Bridgehampton Commons, is currently zoned as a highway business, she explained, which restricts possible land uses.

There has, she said, been a lot of work already to have the property designated a Planned Development District or PDD. Ms. Throne-Holst explained the town board oversees PDDs, unlike other matters of planning. The PDD designation would allow the town to require the lots have certain buffering, vegetation, appropriate aesthetics and so on and added there is “A lot of community input to this process.”

“I’d like to think a little out of the box here,” she said. “What could we do that may serve this community in light of some of the activity that’s going on here at the moment?” she asked the group.

Within moments, one member of the group suggested it could be the new home for CVS. Ms. Throne-Holst, who wanted it to be known that the public had brought up this suggestion, told the CAC members she had spoken to Ms. Konner and referred to her as “a willing developer.”

“Because the decision lies with the town board it gives us opportunity for a lot of give and take,” she said.

If the site became a PDD, she said, it would have to have some sort of public benefit to the town. “We have an opportunity here to look at part of this town, part of this hamlet, that warrants a good hard look,” she said.

Leonard Davenport, member of the CAC, said he would draft a resolution that would throw the CAC’s “qualified support” behind the effort to create a PDD at the site. “This is good planning, this is what planning’s really about,” Peter Wilson told Ms. Throne-Holst.

“The PDD is a big potential development,” Mr. Davenport said after the meeting.

The CVS application will be discussed at the planning board meeting on Thursday, October 9.

 

Bridgehampton CAC Strikes an Environmental Chord with Planned Discussions on Local Issues

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The Bridgehampton CAC will host environmental discussions on local issues relevant to all of the East End such as water quality. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

The Bridgehampton CAC will host environmental discussions on local issues relevant to all of the East End such as water quality. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

The Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee has invited the East End community to presentations and discussions on local environmental issues with a series of guest speakers, kicking off this Monday, September 22.

On Monday, Dieter von Lehsten, the co-chairman of Southampton Town’s Sustainability Committee, will visit the CAC to discuss the environmental impact of plastic shopping bags. On Monday, October 27, Kevin McCallister, founder of defendh20.org, will discuss local surface waters and on Monday, November 25, Bob DeLucca, President of the Group for the East End, will discuss the historical evolution of groundwater protection, clearing restrictions and the effect on surface waters.

The Bridgehampton CAC will be inviting the CAC’s of Noyac and Water Mill to the meetings.

The CAC meets the fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Bridgehampton National Bank’s Community Service Room in Bridgehampton.

Southampton Town Board To Add New Conditions to Special Exception Permits

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By Mara Certic

The Southampton Town Board is expected to add new standards, safeguards and conditions for retail businesses over 5,000 square feet that apply for special exception permits from the town Planning Board.

The news comes following highly controversial plans to build a 9,030-square-foot CVS pharmacy on the busy corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton. On July 28 of this year, BNB Ventures IV and CVS Caremark applied for a special exception permit from the planning board to open the two-story pharmacy on the lot previously occupied by a small beer distributor.

The proposal has caused distress for members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee and other residents, who have created an offshoot organization Save Bridgehampton Main Street, hired lawyers, done a traffic study and even held three protests and counting.

Those opposed not only fear that a CVS would negatively affect traffic on an already dangerous intersection, but worry that the pharmacy giant would detract from the rural charm of Bridgehampton’s village business district.

“We all know that one of our key assets is the character of our downtowns,” said Town Planning and Development Administrator Kyle Collins at a town board work session on Thursday, September 4.

He explained the prior town board adopted a special permit exception for uses in the village business district between 5,000 and 15,000 square feet but added, “the code does not provide for safeguards or conditions with that kind of special exception law.”

He explained special permit exceptions exist in the town code for certain land uses such as horse farms and marinas. “A lot of them are things that would be looked at through SEQRA,” or the State Environmental Quality Review Act, he said.

Although the general standards refer to things like traffic impacts, he said, the proposed new standards would require a traffic impact analysis as well. “Traffic is a key issue within all our business districts,” he said. Certain parking characteristics will be taken into account too, he added. The proposed 9,030-square-foot building, complete with basement and elevator, will have 10 parking spots for employees and clients, according to plans.

Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera said the special standards also include taking a deeper look at the surrounding local retail community and also will require a local market analysis. These safeguards would be put in place in order to protect existing businesses in the village business districts.

The town board scheduled a public hearing about the proposed new standards for Tuesday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Scalera said on Tuesday if the public hearing does not attract a huge crowd, “we’d put it on for the next meeting for adoption.”  After that point she said it typically would take two or three weeks for the law to be formally adopted and put on the books.

CVS opponents have said the pharmacy’s attorneys seem to be looking for a swift and speedy approval process, but if adopted by the board soon, the new standards could realistically slow them down.

Bridgehampton CAC Briefed on CVS, Landmarks Law and Takes Aim at Leaf Blowers

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By Mara Certic

Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee seemed somewhat encouraged by a Southampton Town Planning Board meeting when plans for the much maligned, proposed CVS pharmacy were discussed for the first time.

Peter Wilson, a member of the CAC who was at the planning board meeting on Thursday, August 14, discussed the proceedings with his fellow CAC members at their monthly meeting on Monday, August 25.  “Essentially, it was totally process-oriented,” he said. The meeting was delayed by a full hour, he said, but he got the impression that the board “wanted to see this through properly and give it their due course,” he said.

CVS Caremark and BNB Ventures IV are seeking a special exception permit to build a pharmacy on a vacant lot at the corner of Montauk Highway and the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike. The plan has angered Bridgehampton residents who believe that the pharmacy would cause a traffic nightmare at an already dangerous intersection. “We’re hoping the next decision will go our way. This is somewhat of a win for us,” said CAC co-chairwoman Nancy Walter-Yvertes.

The Bridgehampton CAC announced that members of Save Bridgehampton Main Street will hold another protest at the proposed CVS site this Saturday, August 30, at 10 a.m.

Sally Spanburgh, chairperson of the Southampton Town Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, was invited to speak to the CAC about legislation that was recently passed in Southampton that provides an incentive for owners of historic houses to preserve them.

The new law allows homeowners who allow their houses to be designated landmarks to add a guest house or carriage house to their property. In exchange the town would extinguish one of its development credits. Ms. Spanburgh showed pictures of each of the 46 properties in Bridgehampton that would be “technically eligible” to build new structures under the new law, but explained that even some of those would pictured would not necessarily meet all of the requirements.

In other action, the CAC unanimously passed a resolution on Monday asking the  town to ban gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer season.

Bridgehampton resident Steve Jones has become somewhat obsessed by the excessive noise that the landscaping equipment creates without appropriate regulation, he said. “The landscape convoys that stream into our town every morning have turned our residential areas into industrial zones,” Mr. Jones said.

The town’s noise ordinance was adopted in 1983 and has not been amended in the past 20 years. The code states that during the day, airborne noises should be limited to 65 decibels, with some exceptions—none of which are for leaf blowers.

Many gas powered leaf blowers create noise of up to 100 decibels, creating winds of 200 miles per hour. Mr. Jones invited two doctors, and residents of Huntington, to address the Bridgehampton CAC on some of the other side effects of the gas-powered leaf blowers.

Doctors Lucy Weinstein and Bonnie Sager are members of Huntington CALM (Citizens Appeal for Leaf blower Moderation) who have been trying to restrict the use of the equipment in their town. According to Dr. Sager, 16 towns in Westchester County have restricted their use, the country Israel has banned them and the City of Toronto now hands out $5,000 fines to leaf blower operators.

Not only is the noise and air pollution harmful, but also according to the doctors, the leaf blowers throw up topsoil and nutrients, which results in the need for more fertilizers. Often, Dr. Sager said, lawns then become fertilizer-dependent, which, in turn, increases the nitrogen content in groundwater, potentially causing dangerous algal blooms.

The CAC members and the doctors discussed alternatives, mentioning electric and lithium-powered leaf blowers. Jeff Peters, who owns JCP Landscaping in Sag Harbor, uses gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer, he said. He has been using new, quieter leaf blowers in his business and added that a ban would result in higher bills for customers. A ban on leaf blowers would add 20 to 25 minutes of work per lawn, he estimated. Electric leaf blowers, he said, “have no power,” and require noisy generators themselves.

Mr. Jones said he had been in contact with Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender about introducing some sort of legislation that would ban the gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer. Mr. Bender could not be reached for comment by the time of this paper’s publication.

Planners Take a First Look at Bridgehampton CVS Proposal

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A plan to build a CVS pharmacy at this site in Bridgehampton, now before the Southampton Town Planning Board, has drawn opposition from residents because of traffic concerns. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The Southampton Town Planning Board last Thursday, August 14, took its first look at a proposed plan to build a CVS pharmacy on a vacant parcel on Montauk Highway and the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike.

The applicant, BNB Ventures IV and CVS Caremark, is seeking a special exception permit to allow it to use an already approved two-story, 9,030-square-foot building for a pharmacy. A special exception permit is required because the nearly quarter-acre corner lot is in a Village Business zone, where individual retail uses are limited to 5,000 square feet.

Since it was revealed late year that CVS was considering building a store at the site—at the busiest intersection in Bridgehampton—residents have rallied against the plan, arguing that a store there would create a traffic and parking nightmare.

At last week’s meeting, the planning board simply started the process by which it will be determined whether it or the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will be the “lead agency” during the processing of the application under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

According to Kyle Collins, Southampton Town’s planning and development administrator, the county health department has until September 14, to weigh in on the application, although it could respond sooner. Typically, the county cedes that authority to the town government.

Under SEQRA, applications are considered Type I, which presumes an environmental impact statement must be completed; Type II, for which an EIS cannot be required; and “unlisted,” which means the planning board will have the final say in determining whether an EIS should be required.

Mr. Collins, responding to questions by email, said the earliest a public hearing could be held on the application is October 10. However, if the board were to require an environmental impact statement, that time could be extended for several months.

Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee and other residents have been up in arms over the thought of a CVS being built at the corner since last winter.

A spin-off organization, Save Bridgehampton Main Street, was created largely to oppose the plan. It has hired an attorney commissioned a traffic study of the kind of impact a CVS would have.

In May, Bridgehampton residents converged on a town board meeting to demand that the board intervene to prevent the project from moving forward, but Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst told the crowd that the town board had no power to interfere with the planning board’s process.

Since that time, Bridgehampton residents have called on the town to negotiate with the property’s owner, BNB Ventures IV, to buy the parcel as a possible corner park.

And earlier this summer, residents holding signs and shouting slogans, gathered at the site for a pair of protests.

Lighted Crosswalk Proposed in Bridgehampton

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The existing crosswalk in front of the Hampton Library. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

Southampton Town is looking to install warning lights at what many say is a dangerous crosswalk on Bridgehampton’s Main Street.

Christine Fetten, the town’s director of municipal works, and Tom Neely, its public transportation and safety director, sought out community opinions at Monday’s Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee meting regarding the installation of the lights in front of the Hampton Library.

Library Director Kelly Harris approached Senator Kenneth P. LaValle for a grant for a lighted crosswalk system, they said, which the senator has secured.

The town had initially looked at in-ground lights, similar to those used on East Hampton Village’s Main Street, but it now has its eye set on Rapid Flashing Beacons. These solar-powered lights that flash to warn oncoming drivers when sensors detect a pedestrian, or when they are activated by pushing a button from the sidewalk.

There are some troubling visibility issues at the existing crosswalk, officials said. On the south side of the street, there is a very large linden tree that blocks visibility for eastbound motorists. Also, Ms. Fetten noted that the crossing is right next to the exit of a municipal parking lot.

According to Ms. Fetten, Bartlett Tree Experts examined the tree and determined that it was “not in very good condition.” CAC members unanimously agreed that they would be in favor of the removal of the tree if it were replaced with a more street-friendly tree.

They also said that they would support the installation of the rapid flashing beacons. Members of the CAC also suggested that Bridgehampton could benefit from more traffic cops during the summer who could help direct traffic.